Andrew Liu, graphic designer in the making

Welcome to our spotlight podcast in which we feature a different Mustang on campus. Today we’re here with sophomore Andrew Liu, as he discusses his t-shirt and bag designs, starting his business and inspirations.

Vivian Lee: When did you first start making T-shirts or designing them, and why did you do this?

Andrew Liu: Last year like around the end. I wanted to be unique and creative. Kind of like expand my horizon and just try something different and to get more experience at business.

Lee: So do you want to go in this business of t-shirt designs?

Liu: I don’t know; I’m still experimenting. I enjoy doing it for now.

Lee: So what are you expanding from? What would you first start with? What is your basis?

Liu: I think expanding from ideas.

Lee: Were you originally an artist?

Liu: I used to love drawing, and my mom would take me to art classes. I was in art in middle school during sixth grade because everyone had to take art, but I loved the class. But then I kind of strayed away from that, and sometimes during my spare time I would draw and doodle.

So, graphic design was kind of interesting to me because I didn’t actually have to draw it myself but just design, edit and personalize it to how I would like it to look. So, I think I really like that concept where I don’t have to take hours and hours of drawing something and then publishing it.

Since I started off doing graphic design, if you were going to look at my new website, I haven’t submitted any designs yet for my new one, but I’m thinking of straying away from graphic design [and] more into drawing it myself. My concept for my graphic design and the new one is simple, not complicated, so I’m aiming to be more and more simple.

Lee: What made you go from this change to a simpler idea?

Liu: I realized that my designs were being too complicated and some people didn’t even understand what it was. So, I was trying to make it more universal and less words but more meaning or more understanding.

Lee: Are you working with another company to do this or is this completely on your own?

Liu: I call them “supporters” but it’s the companies that I get my materials from. So on my website, I included one of my tabs for them.

Lee: How did you come by these sponsors? Did you ask them or did they approach you?

Liu: No. They’re not sponsors because I pay. I call them “supporters” because I’m getting stuff from them, and I’m making it into my own.

Lee: So this is completely run by you?

Liu: Yes, but I had help from a friend.

Lee: So how does it feel to be able to do this all by yourself?

Liu: It was really overwhelming because I had to manage money, and I had to learn about investment. A lot of responsibilities which I didn’t feel comfortable with because it was my first time, but I just had to get used to it and try to find out and explore.

Lee: Do you feel like you’re more comfortable with it now?

Liu: Yes, since it’s been a few months already since I started. Even though a lot of people don’t know about it, I hope they do. I hope they get impressed by what I’m doing.

Lee: So how else beside your website are you trying to expand your companies to reach other people?

Liu: I’m going to be also selling plants. I have so many ideas, so on my new website I put the product section which I haven’t opened yet. The product section is basically where I’m going to be selling my design of shirts and bags. I’ll call the other section “little treasures”. To be simple, they’re random things that I am interested in selling to other people, and one of them would be plants.

Lee: Do you like plants too?

Liu: Yes, I love succulents since I got introduced to them last year also and I’ve grown a bit at my house.

Lee: Is this kind of your way into the world now since you just started high school?

Liu: Yeah.

Lee: Are you planning to go into this business or any kind of business?

Liu: Maybe.

Lee: So how do you feel about your company right now?

Liu: I feel like it’s still growing, and I hope it’s still growing. I would really like to improve on it and make people more aware of it, and hopefully they’ll like it.

Lee: Do you have other people working for you or helping you at the moment?

Liu: I started having help from people, but now I’m planning on doing everything by myself. I haven’t informed them yet.

Lee: So now that you’re more comfortable with it, you plan to take over the whole thing?

Liu: Yes.

Lee: Where do you get your inspirations for your designs?

Liu: I use an app to make the designs for the graphic ones. I just use the designs, and I make them personalized and edit them. But since I’m starting to draw them, I usually get my ideas from doodling around. If it looks good I’ll try to perfect it.

Lee: So how do you feel when you finish a design, and it goes up for sale and starts selling?

Liu: When I first make a design I’m not really sure if people will like it, but after someone asks for it and I make it into the shirt or the bag, I still feel insecure about it. But when they give me their feedback and say they like it, then I’m good.

Lee: Why do you feel so insecure?

Liu: I guess insecure has always been in my nature because I don’t know how people will judge the things I do or what I give out to the world.

Lee: Do you think this business has helped your insecurity by how people give you feedback?

Liu: Yes, I think it has. I guess [when] people tell me they like what I’m doing encourag[es] me to continue. I really like how I got to get people to say “You’re doing a good job” and “I like the design” and stuff like that.

Lee: What’s the best feeling you had from this company?

Liu: I think the best feeling I’ve had is having an idea that I just love, and I would like to follow and explore on that idea. The second one is finishing off a product. After I iron it on, wrap it up and make it look ready, I give it to the person who ordered it. I just love [thinking] “Oh, this person wanted this from me,” and they’re hopefully going to like it.

By Vivian Lee, Tech editor

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